Roger Federer’s coach says Carlos Alcaraz needs some improvement

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

There is no such thing as a perfect tennis player, of course. Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and a handful of others come close, but being human means mistakes are made. But a player could be nearly unbeatable, of course,  and Alcaraz seems to be that currently.

Still, Roger Federer‘s now-former coach, Severin Lüthi, says that while Alcaraz is a great player, he could find room for improvement. Lüthi told Blick, a Swiss daily newspaper, recently that the Spaniard could do a better job with his serve. According to Lüthi, Alcaraz “also still has ups and downs in his service games.”

I am not going to generally dispute Lüthi as he clearly knows tennis better than I do. And, in fact, when it comes to the top-ranked player on the ATP tour’s serve, Lüthi is correct. Somewhat. Carlos Alcaraz currently ranks 47th in terms of first-serve points won on the tour, but he ranks sixth in second-serve points won. Overall, the Spaniard is 16th in terms of total service games won by percentage.

Carlos Alcaraz could improve his serves says Roger Federer’s former coach

Those numbers are good enough to keep him in a position to win nearly every match he plays, though. What truly separates him from nearly any other player who has ever picked up a racket is that Alcaraz’s return game is ridiculous. He leads the tour in first-serve points won by percentage (35.9) which is nearly 2 percentage points higher than second-place Mikael Ymer.

Even more of a difference in terms of distance between first place and second is that Alcaraz has won 33.4 percent of his returns games in 2023 and second is Daniil Medvedev at 30.8. It is defeating to a player when the person returning the serve almost immediately goes on the offensive after the ball has been served.

But Lüthi’s point was about Alcaraz’s serve and that it could be more consistently great. If that happens, however, there is a good chance the Spaniard doesn’t lose a Grand Slam until some time in the following decade. I am not sure that kind of domination is good for the sport.

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